Ed Sheeran became famous relatively young, but his latest song proves that he still has plenty of memories about growing up as a normal kid. On Jan. 6, Sheeran released two new songs — "Castle on the Hill" and "Shape of You" — to the delight of his fans after a year-long hiatus. "Shape of You" has a sexy vibe, but the lyrics of "Castle on the Hill" are all about his younger days growing up in his British hometown. While you probably can't relate to Sheeran's life as it is now, you'll definitely understand the nostalgia of reminiscing about your past and how it feels to return home that he articulates in this new single.
During the BBC Radio 1 Breakfast Show on the day he released his new music, Sheeran called "Castle on the Hill," a "love song for Suffolk cause I don't think anyone's ever done that." His American fans might not be familiar with the English county that has the North Sea as a coast, but the lyrics can still resonate with most listeners since it discusses the universal experience of growing up. And beyond being a relatable anthem, "Castle on the Hill" is also a treat for Sheeran fans since it gives insight into the town, people, and experiences that formed who he is today.
While there's not a lot of ambiguity in Sheeran's "Castle on the Hill" lyrics, that doesn't mean his words aren't worth a closer look. He starts of the song by singing:
While I couldn't find evidence that indicated for sure that Sheeran broke his leg as a child, the opening lines set up what to expect from the rest of the song — a confessional tone full of imagery that places you in Sheeran's past.
The pre-chorus lyrics will particularly impact people who have left their hometowns. Sure, you may not have left to become an internationally renowned recording artist like Sheeran, but you get the sentiment of returning to the place you grew up in.
Has everyone in the English-speaking world sung along to Elton John's "Tiny Dancer" at least once in their life while in a moving vehicle? The chorus to "Castle on the Hill" seems to prove so.
Also, I though Sheeran might have been saying he cruised at 90 km on the country lanes, but turns out the U.K. does use miles per hour, so he's talking about some pretty high speeds.
As for that castle? Sheeran grew up in Framlingham, Suffolk, and there is an actual castle there named Framlingham Castle, so he's most likely referencing that. American listeners didn't grow up with a 12th century castle in their backyards, but you can think about an iconic landmark from your hometown while rocking out to the song. Although, admittedly, "water tower on the hill" or "Walmart on the hill" just aren't as epic sounding.
After the chorus, Sheeran jumps to his less innocent teenage years.
Smoking, hiding from cops, drinking, and kissing for the first time? This is the stuff hometown songs are made of.
Sheeran recognizes that throwing up after a night of drinking with your friends is a rite of passage, even if he has moved past those days now.
For the bridge, Sheeran reflects on the people he grew up with, most of who still live in the town. Rather than it sounding judgmental, it comes off as the actual struggles of real-life people. More than likely, you know at least one or two people with similar experiences from your own town.
The song goes back to the chorus one last time, but with a slight tweak.
While I doubt many people know the answers even now, Sheeran is talking about the simple, yet chaotic, time in his life that was growing up. So next time you head home, listen to "Castle on the Hill" to prepare yourself accordingly. Because although Sheeran's lyrics are about a specific place in his life, they can be applied to your life too — even if you've never seen a castle on a hill.